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WildWorks, maker of Animal Jam and Feral, angers fans by embracing crypto games

Less than a year ago, WildWorks, the creator of the virtual world for children Animal jam, launched its next big effort with a game aimed at teenagers of Generation Z, called Savage. But in recent days, the company has angered many of its major users with news that he is reusing Feral’s tech platform and many of his assets to enter the crypto gaming space with a metaverse game called Ash, powered by the Solana blockchain.

The response from major WildWorks fans has been less than enthusiastic to this news for a variety of reasons. Already preoccupied with Feral’s pace of development and its unfinished nature, gamers are now worried about what this means for Feral’s future, now that the company has moved on to creating a crypto gaming experience using Feral’s assets. They are also far from thrilled with the environmental impacts of crypto games and NFTs – an opinion WildWorks CEO Clark Stacey held until recently.

In an average postStacey addresses this specific concern among others, noting that he himself had believed that technologies like NFTs were “irreconcilable with environmental conservation” and devoid of value to gamers.

However, he says his opinion has changed since learning more about blockchain developments beyond Ethereum. While Ethereum, like Bitcoin, relies on a power-hungry ‘proof of work’ system that requires what Stacey called a ‘ridiculous amount of computational power’ to validate its transactions, alternatives have emerged that iterate on ‘proof. energy efficient workstation. participation validation systems instead – like Wax, Cardano and Solana.

“Transactions on these blockchains can be more efficient than the credit card networks we currently use to accept payments in most of our games,” Stacey wrote. “In addition to WildWorks’ continued efforts to offset and reduce carbon emissions from game development, we are determined that our use of the Solana blockchain in our new game will not increase the company’s carbon footprint.” , did he declare.

Image credits: Ashes of WildWorks

Cinder players will use the Solana blockchain to purchase their “playable NFTs” – the Cinder Fae which will include 11,111 exclusive avatars designed by the WildWorks team. NFTs feature around 150 characteristics of varying rarity across nine categories, so each will have a unique look that cannot be duplicated, explains Cinder’s website. Players will be able to connect their NFT avatar to Cinder on the day it is created to join the free-form MMO community and explore the virtual world. The strike is scheduled for early January. Then, over the next year or so, players will be able to turn the in-game content they design – like avatars, play spaces, and party rooms – into NFTs stored on Solana that can be bought or sold through the Marketplace. by Cinder.

While Stacey responded to fans’ concerns about environmental concerns about crypto technologies, that wasn’t the only reason fans were frustrated with this shift in direction towards crypto.

Many also felt that today’s crypto ecosystems still have a lot to answer for in terms of their other drawbacks – including their use for money laundering purposes, or how NFTs too easily allow the theft of money. art of the creators, and the security concerns with “altcoins.” Stacey acknowledges that there is some truth to these accusations, but also notes that these are only the early days for blockchains in general, and that regulation and further development can address these concerns. He also said that there are creators who want to get involved in these new technologies in order to help contribute to solutions that benefit the creative community, and they should have this opportunity.

One of those areas includes creator-designed avatars and other tradable content, which can be difficult to capitalize on on current platforms like Roblox, Stacey said.

“[Roblox doesn’t] create play experiences themselves; they’re not the ones whose creative output actually engages players, but they get 75% of what creators make because they control the platform and own their users’ output. If I create a really cool avatar in Roblox and someone wants to buy it from me, I can’t sell it to them without the platform’s intervention, ”Stacey wrote. (The Roblox “cut” is actually a little more complicated than that, in part because the mobile app stores are taking their own share in addition to Roblox’s share. But the general point that developers earn a small portion of overall revenue is correct.)

Rather, Cinder’s NFTs would allow users to tokenize and then sell and trade their creations, keeping more of the total revenue. Stacey, in Discord AMA, said the Cinder Marketplace will allow players to keep 96% of the deal, with Cinder taking just 4%.

But many Feral fans either aren’t looking for those kinds of explanations or aren’t happy with the current answers. They are widely opposed to crypto and NFTs and are making their views known. This belief system may also have to do with how fans still view WildWorks as a kid’s game maker – or at least a game maker aimed at the under-18 market. Having started their journey on children’s game Animal Jam, they consider the company’s entry into the crypto-gaming space inappropriate.

However, WildWorks had previously signaled its interest in expanding beyond the children’s play market with Feral, which he addressed to teenagers, not young children. With Cinder, the market is not made up of children or adolescents, but adults. The company said the new game is intended to attract a similar demographic to those who would play other crypto games like Infinite Axis, The sandbox, Where Blankos Block Party.

More importantly, WildWorks needs the income to pursue its gaming ambitions – Feral or otherwise. Stacey shared with the Feral Discord community how WildWorks invested over two years of development and $ 6 million into building Feral. Although he aims to make it a stand-alone business, that moment has not yet arrived.

Stacey admitted to TechCrunch that it became clear that while Feral was in Early Access, he was not meeting the product market fit that WildWorks had hoped for.

“We have reached the point where we can no longer continue to invest where we were and remain financially healthy,” he told us. “We didn’t shut down the game, however, as there was a passionate community still playing, and we were hoping to either find a new publisher for it or other ways to continue development.”

Cinder could provide that “alternate way,” if successful, but ironically, Feral might not survive to see it happen due to backlash from fans. Fans are threatening to quit the game and cancel their Animal Jam subscriptions in protest.

Image credits: Savage of Wildworks

For some, the switch from WildWorks to crypto games was a nail in the coffin, as they took the opportunity to speak out about other issues they had with the business. Fans turned to off-topic discussions of perceived failures in WildWorks moderation systems, hackers, The data violations and her use of headdresses in Animal Jam – which Stacey admitted was an “ignorant” choice. (The company had discussed the issue with Native American players who contacted, apologized, and agreed that these virtual items would no longer be manufactured or promoted. However, the company did not remove the items from players’ inventory, though. if they were already acquired.)

The friction between WildWorks’ business needs, coupled with her desire to explore what she sees as the future of the game, and the real-world reaction of her longtime fans is an example of how difficult it is for businesses. adopt blockchain and crypto technologies. . This problem is compounded because the potential of blockchain can often be obscured by the negative aspects of the industry – or, like Stacey said it’s the “thieves and crooks and bad art” and the lack of “regulatory guards” around crypto developments today.

As for Feral, fan concerns about his future appear to be well founded. Stacey says if the community continues to support the game, they’ll find a way to keep developing it.

“If they don’t, we will announce plans to shut it down as soon as this decision is made. It has not been taken to date,” he notes. “We understand that many members of the Feral community are philosophically opposed to NFTs and blockchain technology in general, but although we have attempted to address their questions and concerns, Cinder is designed and marketed for a different player. They don’t. will lose nothing of the presence of assets that we created for Feral is also present in Cinder. “